University Web Developers

University Web Developers

CMS training materials -- are printed manuals worth it?

I've seen a few examples of printed, bound training books -- some with tabs.  In the long-term I'd love to grow our training materials into something that's a combination of how-to, style guidelines, and related policies.  I think then it would be worth the effort.

It'll be a while before I have all the content together, so for now I'm curious -- is a training book that is printed and bound effective?

I'm investing quite a bit of time developing "Help" pages for each site -- a page with links to guides, related blog posts, and videos, plus anything specific to their site.  But I'm wondering if folks just like that paper stuff they can hold in their hand.  I want people to be comfortable.

Views: 131

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

My (totally anecdotal) perception is that printed manuals are not particularly useful to most users these days. When you factor in maintenance and updating of the manual, they are really not worth the effort. Contextual online help, along with a FAQ, screencasts, and some key procedures posted online seem to work for almost all users.

The exception I run into in CMS and LMS training is that some users like to write down procedures as they learn them. For these users, a short printed manual with room for handwritten notes allows them to work in a comfortable and familiar way.

These users are almost always also the ones that want to learn just enough to get by in the new system – rather than diving deep into advanced features – so the basics of logging in, editing content, and creating and publishing pages are usually the topics that can use this kind of workbook treatment. The advanced stuff can be omitted, to keep it short and simple and relatively easy to update as the UI changes.

I like the idea of giving them something they can take notes with.  I am not a fan of printing things that go obsolete quickly.  Our old docs held up for 3 years, and I'm crafting the replacements to hold as long as possible -- to cover beginner basics, then anything that more advanced is a blog post I can send them a link to (when it pertains to their site.)

If I had the time I would love to create a "Help" page in each site, with dynamic hooks to topics on the CMS Users blog I update.  So, if their site has our News script in it, I could feed in recent posts with tips and tricks for that.  I'm experimenting with a few Google docs to get started -- they can edit the doc so if anything doesn't make sense they can change it.  But I expect 99%+ of users wouldn't edit what I provide.

Your blog and feed approach to CMS training and support sounds like it will be very efficient... We are going to be rolling out a new WordPress multisite network, and that is definitely something I'll adopt as well. Thanks for the tip!

RSS

Elsewhere

Latest Activity

Lauren Zakich commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Change is inevitable, and you want to make sure your content is still consistent after you reorganize your site. Check out the importance of using dependency tags in OU Campus to make sure both your site visitors and search engines can still find…"
yesterday
Allison Howard is now a member of University Web Developers
May 19
Lauren Zakich commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Planning a dream kitchen is like redesigning a website. It's easy to change the colors, but if the content doesn't provide what users need, your site visitors will not find value. So where do you start?"
May 12
Lauren Zakich commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"When thinking about valuable content for your higher ed site, try testimonials and quotes to attract prospective students. Download the latest E-Expectations report today. "
May 11
Lauren Zakich commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Check out more of these stats by downloading our latest E-Expectations Report today!"
May 4
Lauren Zakich commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Your website’s voice helps drive your brand and deliver consistency across your site. In our latest blog post, Jim Heiney from Lock Haven University shows how to keep that consistency using OU Campus."
May 2
Fabio posted a discussion

Top 200 Universities in Facebook

Just a brief note to inform all University developers that we have just published a new ranking of the top 200 Universities in Facebook based on the number of likes (fans count) each Facebook page has. Visit http://www.4icu.org/top-universities-facebook/For the US listing of all Universities in Facebook and their fans count popularity please visit…See More
May 2
Lauren Zakich commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"New blog post! Find out what prospective students are wanting to find on your website."
Apr 28
Kathy Nix posted a discussion

user levels

Is there anyway you can edit a user level?  We have level 8 users and want to add "Add to Dictionary" without opening every user and clicking on the Add to Dictionary box.See More
Apr 26
Doug Thompson posted a discussion

Solution for deluge of daily emails?

So way back in "the day" (eight or so years ago), our employee/student email inboxes were routinely deluged with 40+ individual email messages per day due to the "campus-wide" email lists being open for anyone here to send messages to.Enough people eventually decried the situation, so we came up with an email/website "publication" that was basically akin to a "daily digest email" of what were originally individual messages.This was highly successful and took a large part of the burden off of…See More
Apr 21
Andrew Soderberg replied to Mark Greenfield's discussion The UWEBD Social Network Will Live On
"Mark, Just a suggestion regarding a sustainable future for UWEBD (software platform). When I was at OmniUpdate we migrated from Ning to SocialEngine. SE has a Ning 2 import tool: http://get.socialengine.com/ning/ The process was pretty smooth for…"
Apr 21
Christopher Snizik is now a member of University Web Developers
Apr 18
Lauren Zakich commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Our 2017 OmniUpdate User Training Conference was a huge success! For a recap of the event, head over to our blog. "
Apr 17
Profile IconChris Amelung and Derek Pasnick joined University Web Developers
Apr 10
Barb Iannucci replied to Dean Hartman's discussion Best CMS option
"I'm interested in this as well..."
Apr 4
Dean Hartman posted a discussion

Best CMS option

It's time for us to move away from our current CMS, and I was wondered what is working best for others: a pre-packaged solution, or building your own with WordPress, Drupal or ...?See More
Apr 4
Cindy is now a member of University Web Developers
Apr 1
Profile IconDean Hartman and Laura T joined University Web Developers
Mar 28
Tarekegn Nibret is now a member of University Web Developers
Mar 15
Scott Dailey is now a member of University Web Developers
Mar 10

UWEBD has been in existence for more than 10 years and is the very best email discussion list on the Internet, in any industry, on any topic

About

© 2017   Created by Mark Greenfield.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service